It is an old wives’ tale that pregnant women must eat for two. Though it need not be taken literally, eating a balanced diet is necessary both for the growing fetus and the expectant mother. At no cost can you forget that the mother is the sole source of nutrition for the unborn baby so every bite that she has, counts. You will have to keep up with the body’s increasing demands for food and nourishment by supplying it with sufficient enrichment to carry and deliver a healthy baby. But that doesn’t mean that you can gorge on just about anything (especially not junk!) only to put on weight, without getting the right nutrition in the process. Anemia, pre-eclampsia, mood swings and fatigue are just a few of those health conditions that you can be affected with if you have poor eating habits during pregnancy. You have to fit in wholesome, well balanced meals into your diet chart for both your and your baby’s health. Apart from the usual nutrients, the need for iron and folic acid will have to be fulfilled through supplements. If you are a mum-to-be or planning to be one, tips mentioned here will guide you along a healthy pregnancy.
Healthy Pregnancy Diet
- Starchy foods like cereals, whole grains, dals, pulses, pasta and bread are all a good source of proteins and carbohydrates. Make it a point to add a lot of starchy food to your diet for that extra energy that you will need throughout your pregnancy period.
- Since they have essential amino acids and vitamin B-12 along with good calcium content, dairy products like skimmed milk, yoghurt, buttermilk and cottage cheese should be taken in generous amounts.
- Fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber along with other vitamins and minerals. Indulge in at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. It can be in a dried or frozen form, although canned fruits should be avoided. A glass of fruit or vegetable juice equals 1 portion of fruit or vegetable.
- Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of fiber and you must not ignore them.
- Essential animal proteins are available in plenty from meat, fish and poultry. But vegetarians need not worry as consuming 1.5 oz of nuts and 2/3 cup of legumes will give the same amount of proteins.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water apart from other fluids like juices, milk, etc. But be sure to drink clean, filtered and preferably boiled water, to guard against water-borne diseases. Avoid canned or packaged juices as they contain preservatives and high sugar content - both of which can be quite harmful to pregnant women.
- Keep a check on the fats and oils that you use like ghee, butter, coconut milk and coconut oil. Try to avoid these as much as you can and instead go for less-oily or non-oily food.
- High sugar items such as cakes and pastries should also be avoided as besides causing excess weight gain, they are of no use.
- Not only the food but the interval also plays a part, so instead of going for 3 large meals a day, break them up into 5 or 6 smaller ones each time you feel hungry. Your body knows it all, so trust your body and read the signs it shows.
- Apart from the food that you need, you might need some additional vitamin and mineral supplements like folic acid, calcium and iron. They can be easily had in a tablet form but only under strict medical supervision and a doctor’s advice.